Version Reviewed: 1.0
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Banzai Rabbit is, admittedly, a frogger clone which pays homage to classic 80's Sci-Fi/Super Hero/Cult classic movies, i.e. The Fly, Super/Spiderman, The Karate Kid, etc. It's your typical mad-scientist-out-to-rule-the-world-and-only-you-can-save-the-day cliche'. That said, the story line is not very original, but is fun and humorous nonetheless.
Banzai Rabbit begins in your basic generic research laboratory, where a rabbit sits in a cage, awaiting his untimely demise. Unbeknownst to him, a series of (fortunate) mishaps are about to occur which transform him from a basic rodent to a super hero. In typical super hero/mad scientist storyline fashion, the rabbit has an ally, in the form of an attractive lab tech named "Mary Beth" (hmmm....) who is the rabbit's only friend. Anyway, the rabbit has somehow acquired an evil flea, which only Mary Beth notices. Her comment about the flea elicits dialogue from the game's main antagonist, Dr. Fleanstein, who is hell-bent on world domination via a special machine he's working on and Dr. Myagi (what?) the game's second of two protagonists, who is hell-bent on getting Mary Beth to notice him.
Dr. Myagi then offers the evil, flea-infested rabbit a special treat and before you can say "how unpredictable," the rabbit somehow leaps from his cage and lands on a console button activating the special machine, which contains Doctors Myagi and Fleastein. After being bombarded with insane amounts of radiation, Dr. Myagi's DNA is altered/combined with the rabbit's, giving him "the speed, strength and agility of a rabbit,"' while Dr. Fleastein "was imbued with the greed and insatiable hunger of a flea." Who knew? Anyway, Myagi flees into the night, eventually becoming Banzai Rabbit, while Dr. Fleastein embarks on a mission to rule the world (which is over-rated in my opinion).
The game focuses on Banzai Rabbit saving innocent citizens from bombs of green goo launched by Dr. Fleastein (aka The Flea), which turn said citizens into mindless flies. Fortunately for Banzai Rabbit (and us), his altered DNA protects him from the effects of the evil mutagen. Players simply have to navigate Banzai Rabbit from his side of the screen/road, etc. to the other side, where the innocent citizen awaits rescue, capturing power ups along the way. Players don't have all day, however, as each level is timed.
Players have the option of using one of three control configurations: Slide and Tap, Side Arrows and Virtual D-Pad. I played the game using all but Side Arrows, which I found confusing. The game is playable in two modes: Story and Challenge and contains two difficulty levels: Normal and Hard.
The game's 3D graphics are well done and the sound effects/sound track, while not epic, do a good job of illustrating and interweaving themselves within the game play, which, of course, is practically identical to Konami's classic retro hit Frogger. However, this bunny has a purpose, while the lowly frog simply crossed the screen just to get to the other side. Don't think of Banzai Rabbit as a "rip-off" however; while its gameplay is similar to the original classic, it offers a humorous storyline and additional gameplay elements that allow Banzai Rabbit to keep its own identity, such as time constraints and power ups for each level.
In addition to the above, online leaderboards via AGON online allow this title to hop on the road to success. With a funny storyline, 142 rounds of 3D action set across 34 locations, bonus levels, power ups and varied gameplay controls, Banzai Rabbit is fun, challenging and nostalgically appealing. If you do one thing for Johnny, man, get this game.